NBA: Nuggets thrash Suns in Western Convention semi-final opener


Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets goes to the basket against Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns in the first quarter at Ball Arena on April 29, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Nikola Jokic  of the Denver Nuggets goes to the basket towards Deandre Ayton  of the Phoenix Suns within the first quarter at Ball Area on April 29, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.  (Getty Photographs by way of AFP)

LOS ANGELES – The Denver Nuggets, fueled by 34 factors from Jamal Murray, dominated Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns 125-107 Saturday in sport one in every of their NBA Western Convention semi-final sequence.

Denver’s two-time reigning NBA Most Precious Participant Nikola Jokic scored 24 factors and grabbed 19 rebounds as six Nuggets gamers scored in double-digits to offer the highest seeds a convincing victory towards the possibly explosive Suns.

Jokic had even gone as far as to say the Suns might be thought-about favorites within the sequence, and Phoenix seemed harmful as they related on 66.7% of their pictures from the sector in a nip-and-tuck first quarter that featured 14 lead modifications.

They led by one heading into the second interval, however the Nuggets inexorably took management to guide 68-51 at halftime.

Denver responded to each run the Suns produced and Phoenix — led by led by 29 factors from two-time NBA champion Durant and with 27 from Devin Booker — didn’t get the deficit under 10 factors within the second half.

With 5 minutes remaining, Phoenix waved the white flag and pulled their stars.

Deandre Ayton scored 14 factors and Chris Paul had 11 for the Suns, however Denver had 16 three-pointers to Phoenix’s seven and scored 18 factors off 16 Suns turnovers.

Murray drained back-to-back three-pointers to launch a 14-0 fourth quarter run that carried the Nuggets to a 120-95 lead.

It was greater than a glimpse of the shape Murray flashed earlier than lacking all of final season due to a torn left knee ligament suffered in April of 2021 — and the 26-year-old was delighted to be again in motion after lacking the final two post-seasons.

“It’s good to play on the most precious time of the 12 months and make an impression,” he informed broadcaster TNT.

Denver, who improved to 38-7 at house within the common season and playoffs, host sport two of the best-of-seven sequence on Monday.

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